Times were much easier when your child is still young and little.
When they’re still young and dependent on you, you can control their social circle.
It’s easy for you to keep an eye on who your child is interacting with.
But when your child progresses to primary school and beyond, they’ll start making their own friends.
Sure, your child will learn how to socialise and befriend their peers and potentially find their lifelong best mates.
However, there’s also a chance that they’ll be exposed to bad influence.
Nobody wants their child to be a hooligan or to partake in bad activities.
Taking matters into your own hands and trying to steer your child back to the right path isn’t an easy task.
Which makes you wonder “What can I as a parent do?”
Well, fret not.
In this article, I’ll be giving you tips on what to do if your child is getting bad influence from their peers.
What is Bad Influence?
When you start seeing your kid breaking all the good habits you’ve cultivated in them; or you start seeing them acting out of norm, they’re probably under bad influence.
Here are some signs of your child under bad influence:
- Your child picking up smoking
- Picking up alcohol
- High usage of vulgarities
- Increase aggressiveness towards you
- Sneaking out of the house to meet peers
- And many more!
Do also ensure that they are not being exposed to these bad influences by family members.
Things to do if Your Child is Getting Bad Influence
Now that you’ve probably identified that your child is getting bad influence from his/her peers, here’s what you can do as a parent.
1. Look For Signs Behind Their Change
As a parent, you may think that you know who your child’s group of friends are.
But in actual fact, kids these days can get pretty sneaky.
You might think that your child is always hanging out with the same bunch, but in actual fact, they might be hanging out with people you’re not aware of.
With the advancement of technology, it’s very easy for your child to meet people who aren’t within your house’s radius or neighbourhood.
Your child can even meet and communicate with people virtually.
Meeting someone virtually is not that different from meeting someone physically, as emotions can be communicated virtually.
Which is why your child might display a change of character despite staying at home often.
For you to step in and know more about your child’s group of friends, you can request to drop your child off when they’re heading out to meet their friends.
You can roughly gauge his/her friends’ character based on the way they display themselves upon seeing you and your child.
If judging someone by how they look is not enough for you, suggest to your child to bring his/her friends over for dinner and games.
This can allow you to further evaluate your child’s friends by communicating with them.
2. Ask Your Child About Their Friends
Communicating with your child is very important.
By communicating, you get to know how your child is doing daily and it also helps to keep the bond between you guys strong.
If you don’t want to directly ask your child about their friends, in fear that they’d analyse the situation wrongly, you can ask your child to describe his/her day with his/her friends.
While they describe their day, try to get them to describe more about their peers so you can know more about them.
And when you hear things like “My friend John is only 12 but has started smoking a pack of cigarettes daily.” or “My friends are constantly inviting me to skip school so we can go to a LAN shop to game the whole” or things involving bad behaviour, you know which friends they should avoid hanging out with.
3. Be Honest About Your Opinions
After hearing how your child describes his/her friend, be it pleasant or unpleasant, be honest with your views on them.
Let your child know how you feel about him/her hanging out with someone who’s all play and no study, or someone who doesn’t value family, etc.
This can get kind of nasty and lead to arguments when your child tries to defend his/her friends.
One way to mitigate this situation is to not criticise your child’s friend or criticise his/her choice of friends.
It can cause your child to feel a strong sense of distrust, which may lead them to hide things from you.
Hence, when giving your honest opinions, explain to them calmly about your views, and try to get them to understand.
And remember, if the argument starts to heat up, don’t speak out of anger as you might risk saying something you don’t mind and end up hurting your precious child’s feelings.
4. Encourage Your Child to Go With Their Gut Feelings
Everybody has their own gut feelings.
Most of the time, our gut feelings don’t fail us.
Which is why it’s imperative that you teach your child how to trust and go with their gut feelings.
Teach your child to go with their gut feelings when in a dilemma.
For example, if your child is often encouraged to skip school, tell them to think of what’s right and wrong, and then go with what they feel is right.
Teaching them this at a young age is good as it helps to develop their sense of independence.
And when they grow up, it’ll be easier for them to distinguish between right and wrong based on their gut feelings.
5. Let Your Child Know What You Expect From Them
How often do you sit down with your child to tell them what you expect from them?
Parents nowadays are often too busy with their work and would come back home too tired to communicate with their child properly.
This leads to your child feeling confused and lost as there’s no one to guide them through their path to self-discovery.
If you don’t make time for your child, it would only mean that the people your child is communicating with are their peers.
And if your child’s peers happen to be a bad influence to him/her, you can expect them to reciprocate whatever their peers have taught them.
Hence, you should always find time and energy to sit down with your child to let him/her know about what you expect of them, such as getting decent grades, being respectful to everyone, etc, no matter how tired you are.
The time and energy sacrificed for this will lead to a less worrying future for both you and your child.
6. Discipline Your Child Accordingly
Disciplining your child can be a tough thing to do.
And what I mean by discipling your child accordingly, is to give a punishment based on what they do.
Let’s say your child’s teacher called you to let you know that your child and his/her friend, Joe, is constantly talking in class and distracting other students, you can ground your child from meeting Joe as often as he/she did previously.
If things happen to be more severe, such as your child and Joe always hanging out and coming back past your child’s imposed curfew, you should ground him/her from going out or impose a stricter curfew.
Depending on the situation, you should give them a soft or strict punishment.
This can help to discipline your child as he/she would know in the future about the consequences of his/her actions.
7. Talk to Their Teachers
When things get out of hand at home and no matter what you do, your child doesn’t seem to revert back to the child who you’ve imparted your values into, you can call for a meeting with their teacher.
Teachers might be better at disciplining your child than you.
Since teachers are exposed to all sorts of children during their teaching stint, they probably have a lot of experience dealing with children who often misbehave.
Call or schedule a meeting with your child’s teachers so you can get some valuable advice from them.
Since your child will see his/her teachers 5 days a week, they can help you discipline your child while he/she is in school.
Raising a kid can be extremely hard for parents as it’s a first time experience for most.
Things can get worse especially if your child is exposed to bad influence, which can cause you much stress and unhappiness.
If you’re too busy at work and don’t have enough time to spend with your child, one of the ways to give them good influence is to hire a trusted home tutor who can influence your child in a good way.
I hope this article is able to help you tackle this issue and solve the problem between your child and his/her bad influence.
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